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Cat{s} Symbolism-Personal and Collective

Carl Jung instructs us to always look at the dream with at least two interpretations. One is the personal, those actions, events, concerns and experiences that are from our daily life experiences, often from the day prior to the dream. The second is what Jung called the collective experiences, or the universal inheritance all humans share with each other. These collective experiences normally confront the deeper aspects of the symbolism within the dream. Last night I had a dream about cats, many cats, and I wish to share my interpretation of the dream, both personal and collective.

First a little background. I have several cats, four females and two males to be exact. Since I moved a country setting {outside Murfreesboro, Tn} I have taken in several strays in addition to my original two females. I am an animal lover and can hardly turn them away. I find cats great companions and they are easy to care for. {Pics and a bit of personal history of four of my cats are below}.

Collective wise cats are definitely symbols for the feminine. Very intuitive, instinctive. From Soul Future's Dream Dictionary for cats.

-A cat within a dream often symbolizes a need to use your intuition
-The Goddess within
-Grace, agility, sleekness, power
-Being mysterious or secretive
-Cats are known for their ability to survive unusual situations or trying circumstances, having resilience

Many of the above fit my persoanlity and thus are important to the interpretation of my dream.

The Dream

I was visiting a an older house that sat beside a water canal, not very deep in most places but running deep in one particular spot that goes under a bridge. I was trying to round up my cats. There were not distinct descriptions to the cats in the dream other than my smallest black cat Sweets. I had gotten all the cats together except for Sweets. I was worried about her but not so much that I was in a panic or greatly worried. I looked down the canal and saw her going toward a covert, or bridge where there was a flow of deeper water. This bothered me since I thought she could get into trouble. I climbed down into the canal {it was concrete, much like those you see in Los Angeles, Calif} and started toward her. She went under the covert and I became even more concerned since the water at this point began to flow deeper and swifter. I continued along the canal far enough to see over the covert/bridge and there she was, on the other side, safe and standing on the concrete. I got to her and picked her up. We were united and all was well. End of dream.

The PersonaInterpretation and Explaination

Although we have had a very mild winter {global warming is a fact} the weather the past several days has been colder and we have had a little snow. Although I have a cat door so they can come and go as they please, Sweets for some reason will not use the door. I am more concerned for her when night falls since she must have me open the door to let her in. She usually knows my time schedule and is precise when I call for her to come in.
Last night all the cats were inside except for Sweets, and she wasn't there when I called {she had stayed inside all day so I figured she wanted to prowl a bit longer}. I went to bed knowing I would get up sometime in the night and then I could let her in. And sure enough she was.

In my dream Sweets was the greatest of my concerns. This is because she was the only cat that did not come in on her own. It snowed some last night {water} and although it was a very light snow {shallow water in the canal} I was naturally afraid for her safety, but not so much so to worry about it to a great degree. Knowing how cats are, how they are nocturnal animals instinctively, and have had her do this a few times perviously, I went on to bed. I had an inner concern for her but knew she was always reliable. My dream was focusing on those cencerns but with an inner knowledge that she would be fine. This is definitely one interpretation of the dream, those concerns and the inner knowledge that she was capable of being a cat and surviving, while at the same time being dependable when I awoke during the night and her waiting for me. The search and rounding up the cats in my dream was my search for the cats that night. The search for Sweets fit my true concerns and my true life exepreinces with her. It all fits in this context.

But that is not all of the 'personal' experience of the dream

Sweets was given to me by my ex-wife Susie In Memortial to Susie, the mother of my only child {my 33 year old son}. Susie and I divorced in 1983 but remained very close. But Susie passed away in September 2203 from leukemia. It happen so fast and was a such a shock for me. Looking back at my life, if I had it to do all over again she and I would probably still be together even though in many ways we had grown in different directions. This made Sweets an even greater importance in my life and thus the significance of this relationship in my dream.
{The realization of my shortcomings and mistakes in life and the ultimate changes to my psyche to confront and overcome is a direct influence of Jung's Individuation Process}.

The significance in the dream as it has to do with Susie is that the canal in my dream represents a complex** I possses{ed} about my relationship with Susie. I believe it was Robert Johnson, the Jungian psychologist, who described complexes as 'canals of behavior'. The deeper flow of water in the dream addressed this aspect of my life with the cat Sweets being a bridge between Susie and I. Where as I was searching for Sweets in my dream I was also searching for closure in my realationship with Susie. Not a closure to the relationship, that will remain forever in my psyche, but a closure to my actions from my past in asociation with Susie.
**Complex-In psychology, a group of related, often repressed ideas and impulses that compel characteristic or habitual patterns of thought, feelings, and behavior.

The Collective Interpretation

The collective interpretation of any dream may in many cases represent a bit of a mis-nomer. The dream symbolism still is addressing the individual life but is doing so in a deeper aspect of the psyche. It may and often does address the personal life but it is also confronting the deeper issues of the psyche that have to do with spirituality and creativity. In my case the cat symbolism, the dream message is adressing my creative desires and situation as it is at this moment in my life. The deeper flow of water are those deeper creative aspects {as well as having to do with Susie} and aspirations I possess and the conflicts that are now being confronted having to do with that creative Self. Those of you who are regular visitors to Myths-Dreams-Symbols know that my creative desires are centered on developing and maintaining the MDS website and of course on dreams. But in the past two months I have made a decision I must put more attention to my personal life {primarily financial wise} which leaves me with less time to apply to MDS and interpreting dreams {I am so thankful for Kathy, Steve, Justin and others for covering for me while I do this. A special thanks to Kathy}.

The cats in my dream are representations of my intuitive Self. With the pressures of personal requirements as I described there is that desire to 'round up' these feminine aspects and put them in a safe place while I concentrate on 'social duty' {doing what society requires instead of the creative Self}. The deeper flow of water in the canal and the sequence with my cat Sweets represents the deepest aspect of my psyche, not only the creative but also the spiritual. I want to accentuate the spiritual
because it has so much to do with how I manage my personal life in regards to my business. The feminine aspect, as a spiritual representation, and reflected by my affection for my cats, is directly related to my business endeavors. I, as an ethical, conscientious contractor make it a part of spiritual life to do what is right for those whom I work for. I go beyond what is reasonable and necessary to insure that what I build is the best I can do. This in return insures I get good references {I have more work for this time of year than perhaps I have ever had} and future work. Doing what is right, The Christ thing, insures positive results. As a religious matter is it the good deeds. But I am not a religious person. Naturally, what nature provides, what goes around, comes around is my attitude. It is placing oneself on a highre realization, the Buddha consciousness, going past religious dogma and doing the good deeds as the example of Christ or the Buddha, or the hero of myth, would do. Positive leads to positive, negative to negative. That is the path of the hero.

So at the end of my dream I retrieve Sweets and all is well. I have the experience of this in my daily life when it comes to scocial duty. As much as I distain the worldly material/ego-centered attitudes I must return to the world of social duty {
the Return Threshold and share my learned experiences from my personal journey. I see this, as well as what I have described above in my interpretation of this dream as how my life is unfolding at this moment in my life. This is how dreams function, about the life as it is at the time of the dream.

My cats

Joe. A wise old man who grunts when he eats. Tolerant of the others as long as they know who is boss

Moe, a male.
Strong and determined, he sometimes tries to assert his masculinity

Missy, a female. My second cat who has finally found trust in me. She was abused by her previous owner

Sweets, my baby. Very small cat who doesn't like the company of the others.

Click Here to enlarge.


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 55 Murfreesboro, Tn.

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Re: Cat{s} Symbolism-Personal and Collective

A note about the interpretation. I know there are other symbolisms that I did not address. But the whole of the dream fits with where I am in life, and with the personal concerns over my cats. The snow may have different meanings if it is really significant at all. One thing I do wish to impress upon everyone that animals in a dream can literally represent a particular animal, as well as having a deeper, collective meaning. My personal interpretation having to do with my concerns for the well being and safety of my cats are about my cats. This is real. If I did not have cats then the symbolic value would be different, personal wise. But what ever the symbolism we must remember that are at least two interpretations to every dream. Which is more important, if at all, is the goal one must reach in analyzing the dream.

Jung states if an interpretation fits your life then it is probably a correct interpretation.


Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 55 Murfreesboro, Tn.

Have You Posted Before? Date of Last Post {Use Search and Your Post Name to Help Find Last Post} Male

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